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Long awaited ruling on Prop 8 handed down this morning and the gay community has broken out in sparkles everywhere!

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Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A federal appeals court in California on
Tuesday struck down Proposition 8, the controversial ballot measure passed in
2008 with 52 percent of the vote that defines marriage as between a man and a
woman.

About 18,ooo same sex couples had obtained marriage licenses in
the state before the ballot initiative was passed.

Prop 8 “amounts to a
distinct constitutional violation because the Equal Protection Clause protects
minority groups from being targeted for the deprivation of an existing right
without legitimate reason,” the court said.

“By using their initiative
power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without
a legitimate reason for doing so, the People of California violated the Equal
Protection Clause.”

Judge Steven Reinhardt, writing for the majority,
said the court had decided the issue on the “narrowest grounds.”

“We do
not doubt the importance of the more general questions presented to us
concerning the rights of same-sex couples to marry, nor do we doubt that these
questions will likely be resolved in other states, and for the nation as a
whole, by other courts,” he wrote. “For now, it suffices to conclude that the
People of California may not, consistent with the Federal Constitution, add to
their state Constitution a provision that has no more practical effect than to
strip gays and lesbians of their right to use the official designation that the
State and society give to committed relationships, thereby adversely affecting
the status and dignity of the members of a disfavored class.”

The narrow
ruling, specific to California, means the case is less likely to reach the
Supreme Court.

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